Saturday, 8 September 2007

The memory of place #2

This first impression on entering the building was one of peace and tranquillity. As I began to take in what was before me, I recognised that the installation involved participation – if you so chose – through lighting a floating candle and placing it in the gently flowing water. The candles were then carried along towards the pillar of light (glass rods) at the other end of the church.

There was a sense of warmth and energy – not frantic energy, but something powerful – in this church building dating from the 13th century. There was also a feeling of welcome, largely due to the helpful yet unobtrusive staff. There was no pressure to participate, yet they were ready and willing to explain and assist. There was also no problem about taking photos and no need to hurry through.

What can we learn from this? There are all sorts of aspects that we could reflect on welcome, participation, submitting our small contributions to the power of the Spirit and trusting that we will flow in the right direction, maybe (for people like me) accepting the direction of flow. But for me the most memorable thing is that it was memorable – I can still recall the various aspects clearly and feel very positive as I write about it. And one more thing, having visited it on my own I was enthusiastic that the rest of my family should see it.

The publicity material for The Memory of Place says:

“… the site demands that the artist is sensitive to the church’s architectural qualities, spatial presence and historical identity.”

Maybe that’s also true for us as we attempt to shape the church in the 21st century.

1 comment:

BZ Ward said...

The word that comes to mind with your description is Trust.